Freda Kahlo: Making Herself Up at the V & A

Of course I didn’t do my homework – unlike the friend I went with, so was very disappointed there were so few of the exotic paintings I have seen reproduced so often and seldom actually seen in galleries. I must say I didn’t know that much about her life except she had been crippled early on as a teenager.  What a lot of misfortunes, polio as a child then the bus accident nearly costing her her life and leaving her a cripple.  So much pain in her life but what a character, what determination to make something of herself. A wonderful role model indeed!!

I felt sorry for her, such a pretty little thing in the photos standing beside her enormous husband who was over 20 years her elder!!

The exhibits of her prosthetic leg – very ornate in a beautiful peasant boot and the various corsets she needed to wear to support  her back were very poignant.

I loved the paintings that were on display – here are a few of them.

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The#One#Show

It was great last night seeing Grayson Perry in the BBC One Show. 7pm is not a time I usually manage to watch television so I really had no idea what it was all about. I had an invitation through the East Finchley Open Artists Group so thought it might be interesting. I nearly didn’t go as when I printed off the instructions (rather a lot) it said Standing Only for 1 Hour and No Toilets!!!!

The organiser emailed me to say I could have a chair and the show was only 30 minutes – so I went!!!

I began by sitting at the back and only had a view of people’s legs but at the first interval I was moved down with my chair right to the front.

My opinion of Grayson Perry improved as he was dressed in normal if somewhat flamboyant artistic  clothes – I have never been interested in listening to him when he wears those silly wigs and old fashioned 50’s dresses. I will certainly be watching his program tonight at 10 for sure.

Waiting for our slot looking down on the News Room.

Sitting at the back!!!

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fullsizeoutput_4c49I loved Grayson’s shirt – and the presenter made a joke about him being the first guest to match the sofa!!!

URBS – New Exhibition in the Phoenix

I have been house-bound for a week or two after surgery which has given me time to create some new pictures for the exhibition my friend Dawn is organising in the Phoenix. I love the challenge of a themed exhibition and URBS has been an inspiration, moving me away from my comfort zone of watercolours and moving on to acrylics with gouache.

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Next up – 50 / 50 for an exhibition in Highgate in November!!!

So thinking cap on for some ideas on this theme!!!

The Wallace Collection and the Hurlingham Club

A very interesting lecture on Monday at the Hurlingham Club by the new Director of the Wallace Collection, Dr Xavier Bray. I have been many times to Hertford House in Manchester Square but have mostly made for the upstairs gallery to view the paintings (Damien Hurst first exhibited his skull paintings there, the walls having been painted blue for the exhibition) A New Broom – Dr Bray has created an exhibition space downstairs in an area formally used for archived material. A small number of the treasures usually on display on the ground floor have been showcased here. Mostly tiny objects easily overlooked. Apart from the armour, I have certainly not noticed them.

We first  had lunch in the Wallace Restaurant – always a pleasure. Tranquil and lovely food.

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Here are some of the tiny objects seen in the showcases ranged down the middle of the gallery

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The armour inspired Henry Moore, and there is to be an exhibition starting in the autumn.

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EFOA#Open#House#Weekend

All ready for the second (and last) open house weekend. We start at 11.am on both days and finish at 6pm. A great success last weekend with a steady flow of visitors – mostly coming for the first time after the extensive brochure drop carried out by all the EFO members. The beautiful weather helped the atmosphere with many people milling about in the garden, and lots of children enjoyed drawing under the shade of the trees. One of my guest artists, David Gilbert,  created great interest demonstrating paint mixing. His beautiful sculptures really added to the garden!

Elaine’s pastel studies looked very effective on the stairs.

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I have a LOT of my watercolours dotted about the kitchen and conservatory as well as some Japanese sketches I did a while ago.

 

Asia’s photos on nature blend in with my “country” kitchen!!

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You can see Peter Kyte’s very modern and experimental photos through the window  – they are displayed in my conservatory.

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The Portrait Gallery – BP Awards

I had a few minutes to spare before having lunch in Sheekey (5 minutes away from the gallery) so dashed in to see this year’s exhibition. I didn’t allow a great deal of time, as for the previous few years there hasn’t been a single picture I liked.

I am reconciled to the current style of realistic, photographic way of painting rather than the freer more impressionistic paintings by artists such as Cezanne and Modigliani that I prefer, so within this context I found rather a lot of very pleasing pictures.

I love the symmetry of these pictures!

The picture of the old lady wearing a dress in the same pattern as the background called to mind a recent screening I saw relaid from the Met of La Traviata – in the scene in the country the stage had 3 or 4 sofas all in bright red chintz with Alphonso and Violeta wearing bathrobes in the same fabric! So odd, they almost disappeared from view when they sat down!

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Budding Artists!!!

I enjoyed spending time with my granddaughter and her class during the last few days of the Summer Term. Her teacher asked me to help create a card for the head teacher as she will be taking time off to have a baby! So something for the new nursery,  Unusually for these days, the gender of the baby isn’t known – so not pink or blue!!!

The class have been busy on an underwater project so I decided the card could be a fish – not too complex as time would be limited and the little girls are only 5 years old.

 

 

They were very pleased with the end result!!

The 250th Royal#Academy#Summer# Exhibition

This year #Grayson#Perry curated the exhibition and it definitely had a very different feel – a lot of flippant jokey exhibits!! Very few of the usual favourites such as Ken Howard and Olwyn Bowey and  I didn’t see a single Anthony Green picture – there are usually quite a smattering of his!!! Being rather old fashioned I veered towards the more conventional works.  The fragmented porcelain figures by Cathy Lewis were really beautiful.

I loved the very dark animal made out of oak and nails by David Mach entitled Meteorite.

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One of the portraits that I thought very effective is called AC 16 painted in oil by Sarah Ball – I wonder why 16 is in the title as the subject looked a lot olderfullsizeoutput_496b

An intriguing exhibit that looked like a snake coiled in a glass cabinet turned out to be made from feathers. I was so busy taking photos from all angles I forgot to note the number and artist!!!

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Red Bear made by Debbie Lawson was a predictable choice by Grayson Perry  – made of two traditional Turkish rugs. Quite hideous – I wonder who bought it and why!!!

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The Dulwich Picture Gallery

A visit to The Dulwich Picture Gallery is always a lovely day out. First we had a delicious lunch in Rocca – a very good Italian bistro then on to a very interesting exhibition of Edward Bawden’s work. He became a close friend of Eric Ravilious  when starting as a student at the Royal College of Art and there are a great many similarities between the style of the two artists. I love the way of using pattern on pattern and the simplification of the composition.

 

Bawden’s portraits are very expressive – I particularly liked the ones done during his time as a war artist.

 

#Birthday# Cards#

Always difficult buying something special for my grandchildren. Their rooms are packed with toys and somebody always seems to have got in first with a new doll or the latest robot etc. But I can be original by painting them cards!!!

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I have to be very careful to choose the right colour palette. This picture was acceptable in  pastel greys, blues and pinks, so is displayed on Chloe’s desk!!

My daughter’s birthday was just a few days later so it was a bit of a rush to get a card ready for her. The joint party (Chloe’s and my daughter’s) had a Chinese theme so I wanted to paint a beautiful lady with a resemblance to her.

Unfortunately I didn’t stick to her favourite colours – she does not like red, and in fact I was disappointed to see the scarf looked a bit like a tea towel!! I think my second attempt works far better in the softer blues, purples and yellow!!! A pity it was too late for the party though!!

 

And this was my first opportunity to use the Chinese seal I had cut when in Hong Kong recently!!